James Webb Young describes the process from an advertising perspective in 'A Technique for Producing Ideas':

What is most valuable to know is not where to look for a particular idea, but how to train the mind in the method by which all ideas are produced and how to grasp the principles which are at the source of all ideas.

An idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of old elements. The second important principle involved is that the capacity to bring old elements into new combinations depends...


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In 'why not?' the authors Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayres describe four tools for generating ideas:


See interactive ebook on iBookstore